By: José Díaz & Eumir Quintero
What activities must the company carry out to face the Health Contingency?
In the midst of this pandemic by COVID-19, all sectors of society have been urged to adopt preventive and isolation measures to prevent further spread. In this sense, the Mexican Ministry of Health, under the instructions of the General Health Council, on March 24, 2020, issued an Agreement establishing the preventive measures to be implemented to mitigate and control the health risks related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In this Agreement, which was sanctioned by the National Executive (pursuant to the provisions of article 73 of Mexico’s Constitution), employers and the private sector are urged to establish plans that guarantee the continuity of operations while mitigating health risks from the pandemic, as mentioned below:
“… organizations in the social and private sectors must implement plans that guarantee the continuity of operations to fulfill their essential functions related to the mitigation and control of the health risks involved in the disease caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus (COVID -19)”.Mexico’s Ministry of Health
The elaboration of a temporary protection plan is a risk prevention technique in which health and safety standards are established for workers, in addition to guaranteeing the physical integrity of people according to the preventive measures established by the Secretary of Health in the aforementioned Agreement (published in the evening edition of the Official Gazette of the Federation on March 24, 2020). The plans should be built within the framework of community interventions defined in the “Jornada Nacional de Sana Distancia”, a nation-wide campaign for social distancing. These plans may be adapted to any of the Contingency Phases, as long as the companies have an essential and/or priority activity or business.
For the preparation of these plans, employers and workers must seek effective ways of communication in order to achieve the objectives set by the health authority, where the main value is to take care of health when any situation or problem arises.
Compliance with these preventive measures will allow workers to maintain health and employment, as well as social security (IMSS); As for the companies, it will give them a chance to subsist in such a difficult time.
Below you can see measures to be taken by each labor sector, as well as obligations and rules that must be included in the plan:
Obligations of workers, users and visitors:
- Ban on the attendance of pregnant women, lactating women and minors in the workplace;
- Inform the Human Resources area about any health condition that is being treated, especially for the protection of vulnerable people;
- Inform the company about any health condition that affects you during this critical period, mainly respiratory conditions, temperature and any similar issue;
- Proper hand washing (20 seconds), sneezing etiquette and taking hygiene measures;
- Use of face masks and/or any health protection material that has been granted to them; and
- Abide by the rules that the company has established for its protection in the Contingency Plan, such as special working hours, prohibition of mass concentrations, responsible use of facilities, among others.
Employers must take, among others, the following measures that would be in the Contingency Plan:
- Observe and comply with the provisions of the Law and its regulations, according to the procedure established for this purpose;
- Adopt the necessary preventive measures to effectively guarantee the hygiene and safety of its workers in all aspects related to work;
- The employer, taking into account the types of risk to which the workers are exposed, and in correspondence with the size and complexity of the company, will designate or appoint one or more people with training in health or specialists in the matter, to deal with health promotion, prevention and protection activities, among others.
The employers and the workers together must carry out, in addition to the previously mentioned steps, the creation of a Joint Safety and Hygiene Committee (made up of the same number of workers and representatives of the employer, in accordance with the Labor Law). This Committee must adopt and create the Contingency Work Plan at the workplace (if the company already has such a Committee, it may propose the provisions).
Matters to be regulated and raised by the Joint Safety and Hygiene Committee:
- Prevention services in the workplace;
- Preventive management system of health risks in employment;
- Procedures for evaluating the risks to the health of workers, among others.
On what basis should the Joint Committee on Safety and Hygiene propose its measures?
- Avoid exposure risks;
- Evaluate the risks that can not be avoided;
- Combat the risks at source;
- Adopt measures that guarantee collective and individual protection; and
- Give the necessary information to the workers.
What are the benefits of having a plan carried out by the Joint Safety and Hygiene Committee?
- Get the staff to know the preventive measures.
- Carry out your activity without health risks, as well as mitigate and control possible infections.
- Avoid health risks, in addition to keeping jobs and taking care of companies.
- Keep all employees in the social security system.
It is the obligation of the health sector as well as the private sector (companies) to prepare a plan that guarantees the continuity of operations as well as protecting the health of workers and society.
For more information, or if you need help preparing the Plan for your company, we are at your service by email or phone.
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